Monday, February 11, 2013

New Home on the Mainland

Beach - place of harmony and calm where I live now, on the island - I found a heart rock, placed it on a beautiful log, and left it there when I departed - possibly foreshadowing what will follow.

It's settled...

...not without last-minute angst. It was down to the wire, the last 2 hours and I still hadn't heard Y/N on the offer on the mainland house. So I phoned the agent and said I was sending an email to withdraw my offer. I phoned the agent here and told her I would proceed with the island property.

I had five minutes to wrap my head around that decision, enough time to note that I was feeling a little resigned, maybe slightly disappointed, yet I knew it would all work out. I remember thinking my friends (and husband) would be pleased to hear I was staying on the island.

Then the phone rang. The mainland agent called to say she had phone confirmation that the seller accepted my offer. In an instant my future path shifted a one-plus-hour ferry ride to the east. Twenty minutes later, I was signing papers to terminate the offer on the island home.

Confused thoughts followed. I couldn't quite comprehend the shift for a while. So I called my walking partner... When I arrived, she said "You look like you've been on an all-night binge, complete with a bar fight." Yep, that's how I felt.

Two-point-two miles of fast-paced walking later, I'm starting to feel like myself again. I can almost picture moving to the mainland. I feel sad to leave all the people and things I love about the island, yes, true. At the same time, I feel comfortable with the new direction my life started taking a couple of hours ago.

Mainland house
I'm so relieved the two biggest decisions are behind me now... divorce and where to live. Check those puppies off! Now it's all about how to do it as smoothly and quickly as possible. Whew!

It took a total of 4 weeks to investigate possibilities and reach these two decisions. The most amazing fact about the process is that I did not compulsively overeat. I made a few dubious food choices, yes. But in my pre-OA days, I would have been swimming in chocolate and every other goodie I could bake, buy, or steal.

If I've had any clarity in the decision making process, I attribute it to NOT binging or compulsively overeating. Really. When I am in binge mode, my mind only wants one thing - chocolate (or if I'm abstinent on chocolate, then whatever else is next on the trigger food list). With my attention focused on food, how could I possibly find space for clear thinking, or feeling my feelings, or any kind of mindfulness. WOW! That alone is such a wonderful reason to remain abstinent. My gratitude is huge for the OA program, readers of this blog, and OA friends. I owe them for my sanity during this trying time.

Mainland house - back deck and small yard bordered by a protected wetlands creek.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Island or Mainland?

So many things are out of my control right now. I have two active offers on two different homes, which is the most crazy-making thing I've done in a long time.... juggling the expiration dates, getting an extension on one, while I wait to see what happens with the other, the other dragging on, possibly beyond the expiration date. I could end up with neither home.

The good news in all of this is that it seems to be sharpening my awareness of what I want. If I have to start all over to search for a suitable home to buy, at least I have a better idea of what I want and where I want to live.

The fence-sitting process has finally revealed that staying on the island would be feasible, but not optimal. Yes, my established community is important to me. My friends and fellow OA members are amazing, wonderful and important to me.

For a while I thought staying near my husband was also important to me. When I start considering all the good times we've had, the reasons I wanted to be with him, the things I love about him, it seems reasonable to stay in proximity and work at building a friendship together.

On the other hand, I have lived on this island for nearly 16 years now, all of them as a married person... as his wife. How can I establish a new identity if I stay here? How long will it take? He and I are so comfortable going out to dinner together, to the bank, the dump, the movie theatre... I wonder if we'd just segway into our old patterns, while maintaining separate homes, neither of us building a new, independent life?

A related consideration is my tendency to be a "caretaker." Since his back injury and leaving work, he has become more and more a guy who stays home. Knowing me, I would imagine him as missing me and being lonely. I would actively seek to be there for him.

These considerations and a somewhat discouraging inspection report on the island home are the reasons why I made a second offer, this time on a mainland home.

Unfortunately, there was a second offer made the same day. How nice for the seller.. TWO potential buyers! She made counter offers to each of us. And now we wait. The extension on the inspection report on the home here on the island is good until Monday noon. If my mainland offer is still unsettled at that time, I will have to reject the inspection report and exit my offer here.

Nervous Nelly (that's me) needs to go do some hand sewing. For now, for the next several hours, I just have to let go and let God. Whatever happens (island home, mainland home, or neither of them), I will adjust and keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Heart Replies...

A dear friend, who knows what is going on with me, just sent an email asking, "So how is your heart feeling these days?" Below is my immediate response...

Heart Replies

Heart is feeling empty
resisting reality
resisting change
looking for sunshine
in the wrong season.

Heart is feeling lost
can’t find her home
can’t recall the path
looking for a home
where none exists.

Heart is feeling tired
weary of pros and cons
weary of thinking
looking for answers
in a thick fog.

Heart is feeling closed
turning from faith
turning from trust
looking for clarity
instead of the truth.

Still on the fence... maybe more now than even a few days ago, because I went on the ferry to the mainland town to see the other place again. Tomorrow, I'm going to take seriously the suggestion given by one of the readers here... I'm going to sit on a log on the beach, hold out my open palms, and breathe in harmony with the ocean's lapping waves.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Second Guessing Myself

Decisions to be made.... huge, life-changing decisions being made quickly... no sitting on the fence. Two helpful conversations with my OA support team (that's what I'm calling two members of my Overeaters Anonymous group) today... and now writing about it. Here are the topics:

What will it cost me emotionally?
The illusion of being cared for...

The situation is this. My husband and I have filed for divorce.

Time: We want to live apart. We both want the change to happen as soon as possible. He will remain in the home we have; I will move. We agree on this.

Options: I do not want to move twice. Therefore, I do not want a temporary living situation, such as a short-term rental. Having owned my own place for 40 years of my life, I do not want to rent. Therefore, I made a firm decision to buy a home or possibly a condo. I wish to be moved by the end of March.

Possibility A: I live on an island. It is a great community which feels very safe to me. My good friends, doctor, dentist, OA group, beading/quilting/fiberarts groups, and my local internet provider are all here. I found an affordable home to buy, but it is not conventional and it is not real estate. It is a manufactured home. The rent per month to keep it in the Manufactured Home Park (very nice place), is fairly high. Resale is difficult and can take 2-3 years.

Possibility B: A 1-hour ferry ride away from "my" island, on the mainland, there is a small city with a full-service hospital and many other amenities. I like it there and can see myself living there. I found a nice home for sale in a small, attractive, developed community. The Home Owners Association dues cover ALL outside maintenance (roof, paint, landscaping). 

My choice: I listed all the pros and cons of these two places in writing. They are very evenly balanced, the good of one balancing the bad of the other. Finally, the plus of staying physically close to my friends/community and the comparative ease of a local move tipped the scales toward the home here (A).

Offer on island home: So I made an offer, which was accepted. I had it inspected, and received the report yesterday. There are a few non-major problems which need to be addressed.

Second guessing myself: As soon as I made the offer, I began to question if the off-island home (B) might be a better deal. I fretted for a while. But, after reviewing the pros and cons list, I returned to the same card that tipped the scales in the first place. Then the offer was accepted. Another round of second guessing. Again the importance of my friends and community tipped the scale toward A. Now today, I'm looking at the inspection report and yet another round of angst is with me, which is why I'm writing this post. To write is one of the best OA tools for me. And all of this is making me want to give up my abstinence, even chocolate, the most addictive fix for me.

OA supporters say:  This morning I talked with two members of my OA group, both of whom are clear-thinkers, grounded, and good listeners. Both asked good questions and brought up several points I didn't consider previously. One of them said this:

It's an illusion that I will be taken care of in home B.

The significant word is "illusion." Yes, the outside of the home and property is taken care of for a modest monthly HOA fee. But does that mean I am being taken care of? Does that sustain me? She suggests that friends and community are what sustain a person, not lawn mowing and exterior home maintenance. I think she is right. I would build new friendships, find a  new Dr., and join new groups if I move off the island... but it would take time, and it would leave me more or less alone at a time of stress (divorce).

The other OA friend said this:

It all boils down to, "What will it cost me emotionally to leave the island?"

The significant phrase is "cost me emotionally." The emotional cost, in his opinion, outweighs other cost considerations such as resale value, monthly payments, and costs of exterior upkeep.

Trump Card: Shall I let go of Possibility B? Shall I recognize and respect my strong need for stability of community at this time? Shall I let that card trump all of the others, and stop second guessing myself, go with the current offer and make it work? Can I get off the fence and go with it? Yes, I can.... But, will I? 


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PS. The above conversations with OA members were outside of and not related to the OA meeting. Confidentiality is not being breached here.